If you’ve landed on this page, you may have gotten the keys to your Audi Q3 and want to properly take care of it from the start.
One of the most frequent questions we hear from new Audi owners is: “What gas type does my Audi take?” And more specifically, “Do I really need to pay extra for premium fuel?”
We’ve done the homework so you don’t have to, and in this article, we’ll tell you everything we’ve found.
The Audi Q3 can run on regular (87 octane), mid-grade (89 octane), or premium (91/93 octane) gas. Although regular gas is safe, Audi and many experts recommend using premium gas to maximize performance and the engine’s lifespan.
But there’s more to it, so let’s dive!
At a Glance: What gas can be used for your Audi Q3?
Alright, let’s get straight to the point.
You’re here because you want to know what gas to use for your Audi Q3 without diving into all the technical jargon. Gotcha!
- For the standard Audi Q3: If your car is the base model with the 2.0-liter TFSI turbo engine, it’ll drive just fine with regular (87 octane) gas. However, the experts (and your car’s manual) recommend using premium (91 octane) gas. Why? We’ll discuss it in a bit, but in a nutshell, it’s all about taking care of your engine.
- For the high-performance Audi models: Driving an RS Q3 with the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine? First off, nice choice! In that case, it’s a clear call; the RS Q3 requires premium (at least 91 octane) gas. Sure, it can tolerate regular gas occasionally, but for that thrilling performance you bought it for, premium gas is the way to go.
- Tuned Audi Q3: If you’ve given your (base) Audi Q3 a tune (for example, using a RaceChip), then be sure to use premium (at least 91 octane) fuel.
If you prefer a table overview, here is what you should know:
|Category||Type||Is It OK?||Notes|
|Gas||Regular (87 octane)||✓||Minimum required octane level by Audi, the car will run safely.|
|Gas||Mid-grade (89 octane)||✓|
|Gas||Premium (91 octane)||✓||Recommended octane level by Audi, the engine will be more resistant to knocking.|
|Gas||Premium (93 octane)||✓|
|Gas||Ethanol-based (E10)||✓||Same as the typical gas at most pumps.|
|Gas||Ethanol-based (E15)||!||Not optimal for the car, but it won’t be a danger in the short term. It can only be used for Audi Q3s from 2001 or newer.|
|Gas||Ethanol-based (E85)||!||Mostly not OK. It can only be used if your Q3 has a flex-fuel system.|
|Gas||Reformulated Gasoline (RFG)||✓||A type of gas that burns more cleanly, about 30% of the gas sold in the US is RFG. (Source)|
|Additives||Fuel injector cleaner||!||Be careful; it can potentially damage the engine when overused.|
|Additives||Octane booster||!||Be careful; it can damage the engine when misused.|
|Additives||Fuel stabilizer||!||Be careful; it can damage the engine when misused.|
Stick around if you’d like a deeper dive into why these recommendations exist. Otherwise, happy driving, and treat that Audi well!
Does an Audi Q3 require regular or premium gas?
Time to delve a little deeper!
Per the owner’s manual of an Audi Q3, regular gas (87 octane) is the minimum required fuel type, but premium gas (91 octane) is recommended:
In simple terms, if you fill up your Audi Q3 with regular (87 octane) gas, it will run safely. Any lower-octane fuel (lower than 87), and you risk damaging the fuel system or engine.
Tip: The correct gas type for your Audi Q3 will always be written on the inside of the fuel filler cap.
But here’s the thing – just because someone can survive on fast food doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for their health.
Similarly, your Q3’s engine is designed to reach its full potential with premium (91 octane) gas. Audi’s engineers and the manual agree that premium gas will positively impact your fuel economy, engine performance, and long-term maintenance costs.
If you have a performance-oriented version of the Audi Q3, like the RS Q3, the gas recommendation is more stringent. This high-performance model thrives on premium (91 octane) gas.
Can you fill up an RS Q3 with regular gas? Technically, yes.
If the only available option is 87 octane, it won’t instantly harm your car. However, consistently using regular gas is like making an athlete continuously run in ill-fitting shoes. They might manage, but it’s not ideal.
And what about tuned Audi Q3 models?
Modifications like RaceChip can increase the horsepower of your Audi Q3. And when you upgrade the engine’s performance, its diet needs an upgrade too.
Just as an athlete on a rigorous training regime needs specialized nutrition, a tuned Q3 needs the high-octane boost of premium (91-octane) gas.
Ultimately, using regular gas, especially in the performance models or tuned versions, might initially save you a few bucks at the pump.
But in the long run, it can affect your car’s performance, fuel efficiency, and even its lifespan.
Reduced acceleration, less-than-smooth rides, and more visits to the mechanic? We’d rather avoid that, wouldn’t we?
Difference between regular, mid-grade, and premium gas
Now that we’ve discussed the recommended gas type for your Audi Q3, you might wonder, “What do these octane numbers mean?”.
Octane ratings are a measure of the fuel’s resistance to knocking.
No, it’s not like door-knocking! In car terms, knocking is a rattling or pinging sound you’d hear when the air-fuel mixture in the cylinders detonates earlier than it should. It’s not good for your engine!
The higher the octane rating, the more compression the gas can withstand before it ignites, which reduces the likelihood of knocking and leads to smoother engine performance.
When you’re filling up, you will typically see the following gas types:
- Regular gas (87 Octane): This is the basic option. It’s the most common and budget-friendly. It’s suitable for many vehicles but not necessarily an excellent choice for high-performance cars.
- Mid-grade gas (around 89 Octane): Slightly pricier than regular, it’s often seen as a compromise between cost and performance. Perfect for those who want higher-quality fuel without splurging too much.
- Premium gas (91 Octane and above): Designed for high-performance engines, this gas resists knocking, ensuring smoother combustion. If cars could dream, many would probably dream of this.
The main difference between regular, mid-grade, and premium gas is that regular gas has an octane rating of 87, mid-grade gas has an octane rating of 89, while premium gas has an octane rating of 91 or higher.
Here’s something more to think about: premium gas offers benefits that go beyond preventing knocking. It ensures optimal performance, fuel efficiency, and longevity for cars, especially those designed to be high-performers.
High-end cars (like Audi models) often have advanced engines optimized for higher compression ratios. These engines thrive on the richness of premium gas, which in turn offers better acceleration, fuel economy, and longevity.
On the other hand, the ‘base’ Audi Q3 models might not benefit too much from premium gas performance-wise. Just check out this interesting YouTube video below about testing regular vs. premium fuel on a 2021 Audi Q3:
Real-world experiences with Audi Q3 gas choices
Not convinced by the benefits of premium gas? Let’s check out some real-world experiences from Audi Q3 owners!
1. No differences in performance
One Audi Q3 owner shares that he has experienced no negative effects using regular gas:
For the past 2 years I have been feeding my 2020 Q3 Premium gas. With the gas prices going berserk, I finally decided to try regular for a while. After several months of using regular gasoline (87), I can absolutely not notice a difference in performance. Still equally peppy when you step on the throttle. Looks like I wasted some money over the past 2 years.Source
2. Testing regular and premium gas
On the other hand, here’s an Audi Q3 owner who did notice a smoother ride with premium gas:
A month or so ago, I ran 87 as an experiment for a few weeks. The performance was still good but I noticed on hard acceleration, the engine was not as smooth. No octane knock however.Source
3. Using mid-tier gas
Maybe, it’s best to take a balanced approach and use mid-tier gas. Here’s what this owner experienced:
I’ve had my new Q3 for a little over two weeks, using exclusively 89 octane regular and averaging 23 mpg in combined small town/highway driving. Very pleased with the acceleration and general driveability – it ain’t my old A6, but head and shoulders better than my most recent Q3 (2016)!Source
Can you use ethanol-based fuels for the Audi Q3?
Ethanol-based fuels are fuels that contain ethanol, which is a renewable fuel made from biomass. Biomass consists of a variety of plant materials.
It looks something like this:
That’s a joke, of course!
In reality, over 98% of gasoline in the US contains ethanol. The most common ethanol-based fuel is E10, which consists of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline.
Ethanol-based fuels reduce air pollution, but at the same time, using gas that contains a high concentration of ethanol can damage your vehicle.
E10 is a standard that’s commonly accepted to be safe for most cars on the road today, including the Audi Q3.
However, you may occasionally find E15 gas containing 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline. In the US, E15 can be found in 30 states at over 2,400 pumps (source).
E15 is not optimal for the Audi Q3, but it won’t be a danger in the short term. However, it can only be used for Audi Q3 models from 2015 or newer.
Once you increase the ethanol percentage further, it really won’t be too good for your car.
For instance, E85 gas is also available in some places, but it can only be used for your Audi Q3 if you have a flex-fuel kit.
FAQs about gas for the Audi Q3
If you have any more questions about which gas to use for your Audi Q3, take a look at these FAQs:
What happens if I accidentally fill up with regular gas in my Audi Q3?
Nothing will happen if you put regular gas in your Audi Q3. The Audi Q3 is designed to run safely on regular gas. However, if you can, it is advisable to use premium gas.
Can I use fuel additives for the Audi Q3?
You can use fuel additives or cleaners for the Audi Q3. However, it is important to carefully read the manual beforehand and avoid using additives more than twice a year, as this can damage the engine or fuel system.
Can the Audi Q3 take 93 gas?
Filling up an Audi Q3 with premium (93 octane) gas will allow it to extract its maximum performance and engine longevity. However, unless you have a high-performance model, 91 octane is just as good.
To put it short: Can you run your Audi Q3 on regular gas? Technically, yes.
However, the better question is – should you? Our take? It’s best to use premium gas.
Audi isn’t randomly suggesting premium gas for fun.
It’s all about preserving that engine and guaranteeing your Q3 continues to drive for years to come.
Sure, in the short run, you might save a bit by using regular gas. But think about the long game: lower fuel efficiency and potential repair bills. Suddenly, those upfront ‘savings’ might not feel so significant.
And always remember, if you have any more questions, let us know in the comments!
Gas Requirements For Other Audi Models
Are you interested in the required gas type of other Audi models?
If so, you can find everything you need to know in the following articles: